Days off

Today is one of my precious days off, and I’m definitely savoring it! I slept in and went for a run in the chilly but sunny weather, which was invigorating. Since then, I’ve just been hanging out – drinking delicious espresso (the only ACTUAL espresso I’ve been able to find around here), reading the newspaper, looking at recipes, listening to the new Katy Perry album (amazing!)…

One of the articles I read was about drinking and rape, and gave some opinion pieces about it – you can read it here, I definitely thought it was thought provoking, and I can attest from my days back in college that it is a real problem and a real debate should be opened. So thanks New York Times!

Also, I found this website, where I found out that November is national write a novel month, which I didn’t know about and it sounds cool!

Finally, I’m celebrating the achievement of my goal to write 30 posts on this blog! I hope to share it soon with some important people in my life 🙂

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Good balancing the bad

The past few days have been somewhat disheartening, in large part due to some rude customers cropping up at both of my jobs. Rude customers have a way of making you feel attacked, like an object of service rather than a person.
While these interactions tend to leave me deflated, I have to put it into perspective. Think how many neutral, and better yet positive, interactions I have with customers that leave me sometimes on a high of goodwill throughout the day. Still, sometimes I need a reminder that there are good and generous people out there.
Tonight at Chapelure, a customer came in with three young boys, maybe children or grandchildren, and ended up buying a cake and tipping me and the girl I was working with $20!!!!!!! It was funny because this guy didn’t seem overtly nice or generous or just plain wealthy. He just seemed like the average customer, yet he obviously had a big heart.
When he handed the signed receipt to me he said “We’re just trying to make people happy today!”
We were both so shocked that we didn’t really know what to say! I just hope we were able to express our appreciation adequately. It had been just what we needed at the time, having both been frustrated by rude people.
Even though painful or emotional situations can be easy to blow out of proportion and dwell on, this made me realize how much more good things tend to happen than bad.

Feel the (lack of) power!!!!

Today, something interesting actually happened!!! Randomly at Foods for Living, the power went out for about an hour, which is disastrous for a food establishment with deli and frozen sections. ALL STOPPED! No one really knew what was the problem, but we came to find out that the entire mile stretch of stores was having power problems – but sporadic pockets seemed to escape it.

I kind of hate to say a potentially disastrous problem was exciting, but indeed it was! A couple of the cash registers still worked so we were able to check out some of the customers, and we used an old school credit card slider for a few orders too. It was the same kind of excitement that comes with an unexpected fire drill in the dorms back in college. Mystery! Intrigue! Break from routine! Everyone jokingly said it was the apocalypse – ironically it was a beautiful day and not the ominous atmosphere always depicted in the movies. But it did make me realize how dependent we are on our electricity and our power grid. I hope it is all watched veeeeery closely!!!!

The fact that we all mobilized to prepare for the worst was heartwarming, and the teamwork was great. I also was praised for my hard work several times throughout the day. And, the good news is, the power came back on quickly and nothing was lost in the process. I even got to eat my lunch outside on a beautiful and unseasonably warm fall day!

The eye of the beholder

I haven’t written in a couple if days, because life has been busy, with work and my sister visiting for the weekend. It also seems like life is just the daily grind and nothing too interesting is going on. It would be easy to complain, but I’m coming to learn that sometimes life is just like that. The number one purpose of the blog is to help myself appreciate my own life. So I’ll try not to worry that it’s too dull for others and that there’s something here to connect to at least sometimes.
One thing that happened since I last wrote is that I invented a new hairstyle for myself that makes me feel pretty, daring and elegant. It’s nothing too special to the hair pros I’m sure but it just makes me happy! I’ve even had several compliments in it as a bonus.
Secondly, the weather this weekend has been gorgeous for fall in Michigan – 60s-70s, sunny. Leaves changing…a perfect weekend for MSUs homecoming! For once it wasn’t a trial to watch the parade! It also was really nice to have my sister visiting, she always livens things up!
What small things help you appreciate your life, even if they may seem inconsequential to others?

Waiting

I’ve found that sometimes now during the day, I wonder what today’s “good” thing is going to be. I’ll admit that sometimes it’s not in the most optimistic way, but it does give me hope in the sense that I’m learning that so many unexpected things can happen just in one day, and more often that not, at least some of it is good!

Yesterday was Xavier’s thesis defense – after 5 long years, he’s now a doctor!!! I was really sad not to be there with him and see his presentation and everything. I know firsthand how much hard work, passion and sacrifice he put into it. In fact, I’m not sure I would be able to do what he’s done (working 3 out of 4 weeks of the month and spending one week on his thesis). Even though I’m sad to be an ocean away, I still feel myself puff up with pride and happiness for him. He sounded so relieved and happy afterwards, and I’m not at all surprised that he passed with flying colors! I miss him all the more, but it just makes me look forward more to seeing him in December!!!

Also, yesterday at work at Chapelure, I was unexpectedly rewarded by getting all of the tips because I had worked extra hard because my fellow barista was training a new person!

I’m reading The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert, and it truly is a striking book. I am compelled to keep reading – everything that happens is so unexpected and the writing is beautiful and poetic while at the same time rough and crass. At times it’s unequivocally and unexpectedly joyful while at others it is heart wrenchingly tragic. I am not sure yet whether I will like how it ends, but I know that I will enjoy devouring every bit of it!

Vegging

All in all, today was a hohum day. Nothing bad happened, but nothing was markedly good either. As the day went on, I was tired and had a persistent headache. So. The highlight of my day was lounging on the couch reading after dinner, and will also be going to bed early!!!

Meeting new people

The highlight (and main event!) of this weekend was the visit of the wife and daughter of one of my dad’s old grad students from back in the ’80s. They are French Canadian so they are bilingual but we spoke English because of my mom and because their English was very good. I was a bit wary at first because who knows what the dynamic will be like if you haven’t ever met the people, but it ended up going really well.
We made a nice dinner (I made a chocolate cake with coconut frosting!), and the conversation was lively. I learned some interesting things about my parents. The daughter is my age, and she was really nice too – it’s somewhat validating when you meet other people going through the same things you are – doing a masters, thinking of doing PhD but expensive and not sure of subject and potential marketability in the job market after, difficulty finding work… Yet to me she seemed grown up, and I wondered whether I appeared the same way to her. Anyway, I was happy it went well, I think they enjoyed themselves.
Another highlight of my weekend was talking to Xavier- we are in a really good place right now but I miss him a lot and really look forward to out “time together” on Skype!
And now a new week begins…

Double shift

Today was pretty good considering that I work a 12 hour day – 8 1/2 hours at Chapelure and 3 1/2 hours at Foods for Living. At times it seemed to drag on endlessly, but switching environments definitely helps. I also made almost $40 in tips at Chapelure, which is more than I’ve ever made before. Also, at Foods for Living, I entered into a conversation mid-conversation, to find out they were spontaneously saying nice things about me, which felt good, and I gave one of the girls a ride home because it was raining, and she was really appreciative of that, which felt good.

Right now I’m just too tired to write more…

On getting a really good deal and then realizing that life is that and so much more.

Today, one of my goals was to go shopping to buy a perfume I’ve been trying to get for a while without success. There was a big sale at Younkers, and my mom and I had coupons that we got for donating things to Goodwill. So I went there fully expecting to get in and get out with my perfume, but ended up with a pair of boots, a new Younkers card, a new lipstick that I’d tried to get before but they were out of (they just got more yesterday!) and a sweet gift bag – I opened the card to get an additional 20% off the 15% from Goodwill. It felt like Christmas, and I’d made out like a bandit.

Then, I got home from work and was perusing the new blog posts from the blogs I follow. I came upon two different ones, one asking the question “why be healthy?” and the other an interview with a girl who started a suicide prevention movement (You Can NOT Be Replaced). They both got me thinking about valuing and enjoying life. It was interesting to think of health as an unachievable goal that doesn’t necessarily determine our longevity – so stressing to live the healthiest life you can, at the expense of your happiness, isn’t what life is about. Instead, we would be happier putting more of our energy living more consciously. And also, on the other end of the spectrum, why people end their lives, and how we can prevent this by focusing on the uniqueness of each individual and what only they can give to the world.

I must say, I felt immediately ashamed that the “highlight” of my day was some trivial sale. But then, it occurred to me that while yes, that was materialistic, it also wasn’t overly extravagant, and it was just such good luck that it had to be enjoyed! And enjoyment is what living is about. Ultimately, the positive things I experience will range from inconsequential to life changing.

So today, I’m glad to have had a moment of consumeristic bliss as well as a reminder that ultimately, life is to be LIVED and each one of us is a nugget of delicious life living a unique experience. Talk about putting things into perspective.